April 5, 2004
First orders for Sulzer RT-flex50
Wartsila Corporation has been awarded a contract to supply the first Sulzer RT-flex50 low-speed marine diesel engines. The RT-flex50 is the latest in the advanced Sulzer RT-flex engine series with electronically-controlled common-rail systems.
Four six-cylinder Sulzer RT-flex50 engines have been ordered by China's Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding Ltd. They will be installed in four 53,800 dwt Handymax bulk carriers contracted by the Greek shipowner Enterprises Shipping & Trading.
These Sulzer 6RT-flex50 engines will be built under license from Wartsila by Diesel United Ltd of Aioi, Japan. The engines will each develop 9.720 kW (13,200 bhp) at 124 rpm.
The bulk carriers are expected to be delivered in 2006 and early 2007. They are of an updated design with full double hulls. The vessels are designed for general world-wide service but are destined for charter to South African operators.
The Sulzer RT-flex50 engine was chosen for these vessels because of the special features given by the electronically-controlled common-rail system. For example, the ability of Sulzer RT-flex engines to run stably at very low speeds and with favorable part-load fuel consumption is seen by the Enterprises Group as very suitable for when the ships are navigating the rivers to the many ports in their trade.
The Enterprises Group also regards the Sulzer RT-flex engines as very appropriate as the ships are seen as long-term investments. In this respect, the ability of the electronically-controlled common-rail system to keep up the engine's performance and thus operational savings throughout the engine's operating life is recognized to be of paramount importance.
As the Enterprises Group is sensitive to environmental issues, it regards the smokeless operation of Sulzer RT-flex engines as being very beneficial.
The Sulzer RT-flex50 is being developed by Wartsila Corporation on the basis of the Sulzer RTA50 engine jointly designed by Wartsila and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd in Japan. Both engine types are of 500 mm cylinder bore by 2050 mm piston stroke and have a maximum continuous power of 1,620 kW/cylinder (2,200 bhp/cylinder) at 124 rpm. They are built with five to eight cylinders in-line, covering a power range of 5,650 kW to 12,960 kW (7,700 to 17,600 bhp). They thus offer the right powers and speeds for a wide variety of ship types including the new generation of Handymax and Panamax bulk carriers, large product tankers, container feeder vessels and medium-sized reefer ships.
Sulzer RT-flex engines are now available in six cylinder sizes covering a power range of 5650 kW to 80,080 kW (7700 to 108,920 bhp). To date, 89 RT-flex engines of all six cylinder sizes are on order or in service, with an aggregate power of 3.64 million kW (4.95 million bhp). The first RT-flex engine has been in service since September 2001 and accumulated more than 14,000 running hours with very satisfactory experience.